CN101808916B - Method and apparatus for non-linear unit-level sortation in order fulfillment processes - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for non-linear unit-level sortation in order fulfillment processes Download PDF

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Publication number
CN101808916B
CN101808916B CN200880100690.0A CN200880100690A CN101808916B CN 101808916 B CN101808916 B CN 101808916B CN 200880100690 A CN200880100690 A CN 200880100690A CN 101808916 B CN101808916 B CN 101808916B
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China
Prior art keywords
container
unit
commodity
transmission
non
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CN200880100690.0A
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Chinese (zh)
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CN101808916A (en
Inventor
J·S·巴特莱斯
I·J·莱特森
D·H·克拉克
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亚马逊科技公司
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Priority to US11/768,529 priority Critical patent/US8170712B2/en
Priority to US11/768,529 priority
Application filed by 亚马逊科技公司 filed Critical 亚马逊科技公司
Priority to PCT/US2008/067485 priority patent/WO2009002798A1/en
Publication of CN101808916A publication Critical patent/CN101808916A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of CN101808916B publication Critical patent/CN101808916B/en

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G1/00Storing articles, individually or in orderly arrangement, in warehouses or magazines
    • B65G1/02Storage devices
    • B65G1/04Storage devices mechanical
    • B65G1/137Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed
    • B65G1/1371Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed with data records

Abstract

A flexible, non-linear, unit-level sortation system for sorting mixed collections of items into orders. Collections of unsorted items for fulfilling requests are delivered to one or more singulation stations. At a singulation station, individual units of items are selected from a collection, associated with particular conveyance receptacles, and placed into the receptacles, with one and only one unit per receptacle. The receptacles may be inducted into a conveyance mechanism under the direction of a control system. The receptacles are not fixed to the conveyance mechanism. The control system may direct the conveyance mechanism to route the receptacles to a particular one of one or more sorting stations. At a sorting station, the units may retrieved from receptacles and placed into locations corresponding to particular orders under control or direction of the control system. The conveyance mechanism may, but does not necessarily, return empty conveyance receptacle to a singulation station.

Description

The method and apparatus that is used for the non-linear unit-level sortation of order fulfillment processes

Technical field

The present invention relates to delivery system, and more specifically relate to the material processed facility such as warehouse or performance center.

Background technology

In delivery system, retailer or other products dealer (can be referred to as dealer) typically safeguard the stock (inventory) of extensive stock herein one or more DISTRIBUTION CENTRE, performance center, Yue Ku (cross-docking) facility, material processed facility or warehouse (they can be referred to as material processed facility).Stock commodity are ordered from one or more sellers, received as entering the material processed facility place that shipping send, and store in the stock of material processed facility.In order fulfillment processes, can receive from dealer's client the order of commodity.Each position from the stock of material processed facility, the unit of the commodity of ordering is chosen, for transporting, processes, and transports and be transported to client as shipment.

Order fulfillment processes can comprise sort process, and wherein the mixing batch for the unit of order selection is sorted into their corresponding orders.For example, for example, from applicant's commodity request (order), can between a plurality of sorters, divide, then the plurality of sorter chooses the mixing batch of commodity.Order can again be divided between sorter; Therefore, two or more sorters can be chosen the commodity of an order.Therefore, need to sort the suitable commercial product unit of selecting given order the set that operates the unit commodity to return from each corresponding sorter.Routinely, sorting can be used automatic sorting mechanism or manually sorting system execution.For sort the automatic sorting mechanism of the stock commodity of some type according to each order, include but not limited to sorter, the automatic sorting mechanism that sorter and other sellers provide.Use automatic sorting mechanism, for the selection commodity of the input of a plurality of different client's orders batch or stream can be at automatic sorting mechanism received and sort by automechanism according to each order.

In typical automatic sorting mechanism, each commodity unit is introduced in from being located immediately at the selection batch of the mixing commodity mechanism for sorting the carrier (for example tilt tray) that is fixed to mechanism for sorting.Thereby it is linear sorting system that the typical automatic sorting mechanism using in material processed facility tends to.(being called simplification (singulation)) introduced or placed to linear sorting to independent pallet or transport sector by each commodity unit of the selection from commodity batch, and this pallet or transport sector are the fixation kits of the linear part of operatorless device.All pallets or transport sector connect the loop of circle or oval continuous operation (typically with) with linear precedence.Commodity are placed directly on the carrier of automatic sorting mechanism.Linear sorting system thereby tend to be restricted aspect the size of speed, total volume, the commodity that can sort and type.

Linear automatic sorting mechanism is being typically all expensive aspect cost and base areas.Existing linear automatic sorting mechanism is tending towards inflexible, and convergent-divergent well when stock throughput demand increases typically, even also normally unpractical possible in the situation that because carry out fraction scheme.For example, in order to solve the increase of the 30-40% in order throughput demand, may need purchase to make effectively double brand-new mechanism for sorting of throughput capabilities, although residue 60-70% capacity is not used, also take at least floor area of twice simultaneously.

Footwear sorter

Slip footwear sorter is for guiding and sort the High-Speed Automatic sorting system of median size commodity, pallet and carton.Speed operation with up to 427fpm, depends on load length, and footwear sorter is per hour can process 9000.Two-way footwear allow commodity to be discharged into the both sides of sorter, when larger design flexibility is provided, have improved space efficiency.

Summary of the invention

To each embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system flexibly be described.Embodiment can help make each commodity unit of inventory location selection discrete in material processed facility to be sorted into a plurality of orders to fulfil the request from client.In an embodiment, for example, the set of not sorting commodity for fulfillment request (, customer order) is delivered to one or more simplification station.At simplification station, each commodity unit is removed or selects from commodity set, is associated, and is placed in this container with specific transmission container, and each transmits container and only have a unit.Each commodity unit is placed in single " floating " pallet, container or suitcase (be called herein and transmit container).Transmit container and comprise the container identifier of identifying uniquely the container in material processed facility.Container identifier can transmit container or the expression such as integrated label, bur, device with transmitting container by being attached to.For example, by using mobile or fixed scanners or reader to read manually or automatically or scan from the commodity sign symbol of commodity with from the container identifier of container, be placed into the commodity that transmit in container and can transmit container with this and be associated.

Transmitting container can be introduced in connecting gear under the guide of control system.Control system can guide connecting gear to be routed to the specific destination in material processed facility by transmitting container by various control mechanisms.In one embodiment, destination can be in one or more sortings station specific one, there, under the control and guide of control system, the position corresponding to specific indent be fetched and be placed on manually or automatically to each commodity can manually or automatically from transmit container.In one embodiment, near sorting station or its, can read manually or automatically or scan container identifier from transmitting container.In one embodiment, control system can be in response to the container identifier that is read or scans in control system, the position of the indicating device that activation is associated with position need place to operator's indicating member.

Once transmit container, in its destination, be set to null, connecting gear can but sky must not transmitted to container and turn back to simplification station.Control system can be guided connecting gear that sky is transmitted to container and turn back in one or more simplification station specific one, or alternatively can guide transfer system that sky is transmitted to container to be routed to some other destinations.At simplification station, the sky returning transmits container and can be associated with another commodity, receives the commodity unit of selecting from set, and then under the guide of control system, by connecting gear, is passed go back to simplification station or another destination.Alternatively, in the destination of (a plurality of) sorting station, (a plurality of) simplification station or other position on the way or year connecting gear, the empty container that transmits can remove from connecting gear.

Because the nonlinear relationship of they and operatorless device, transmits container and is described to " floating ".Transmit container and be not fixed to connecting gear or connecting gear or the fixation kit of other devices arbitrarily, and each transmits in container and system active other and transmits containers and have nonlinear relationship (that is the order that, transmission container there is no need).Transmitting container can remove or add to wherein from non-linear unit-level sortation system, and can at random be arranged in sorting system.And various automatic and/or non-automatic devices can be used for carrying out the non-linear unit-level sortation system that transmits container of using; Each does not all rely on any specific device and transmits container and/or the unit wherein comprising is sorted to order with the use of the transmission container that commodity unit is associated separately.In addition, transmitting the difference size of container and/or configuration can be processed and do not needed in system automatically or obvious change or the modification (if any) of other devices by non-linear unit-level sortation system.

Accompanying drawing explanation

Fig. 1 illustrates logical expressions or the view of the operation of material processed facility, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.

Fig. 2 illustrates the example such as the physical layout of the material processed facility at Order Fulfillment facility or center, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.

Fig. 3 illustrates the example physical layout such as the material processed facility at Order Fulfillment facility or center, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.

Fig. 4 illustrates the exemplary transmission container according to an embodiment.

Fig. 5 illustrates according to the operation at the exemplary simplification station of an embodiment.

Fig. 6 illustrates the operation at the exemplary sorting station that can use in the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system.

Fig. 7 A and 7B illustrate respectively according to lateral plan and the top view at the exemplary sorting station of an embodiment and the order processing station that is associated.

Fig. 8 A to 8E illustrates the exemplary configuration of the order sorting case that can use in each embodiment.

Fig. 9 is the diagram of circuit illustrating according to the method for operation in the non-linear unit-level sortation system of an embodiment.

Figure 10 is the block diagram that the exemplary embodiment of computer system is shown.

Although describe the present invention by some embodiment and illustrative embodiments in the mode of example herein, those skilled in the art will recognize that and the invention is not restricted to described embodiment or accompanying drawing.Should be appreciated that accompanying drawing and describe in detail and be not intended to limit the invention to disclosed particular form, on the contrary, the present invention is intended to contain all modifications, the equivalence and alternative dropping in the spirit and scope of the present invention that are defined by the following claims.Title used herein is only for organizational goal and and do not mean that for limiting and describe or the scope of claim.Run through this explanation, word " can " as license meaning (that is, mean and there is possibility) rather than force meaning (that is, mean must).Similarly, word " comprises " and modification means and comprises and unrestricted.

The specific embodiment

Each embodiment for the method and apparatus of non-linear unit-level sortation for example will be described, in order fulfillment processes (order fulfillment processes in material processed facility).To describe a kind of system of non-linear unit-level sortation flexibly, it contributes to each commodity unit of the discrete inventory location selection in material processed facility to be sorted to order to fulfil the request from client.In an embodiment, selection process by the unfiled commodity for fulfillment request batch or stream be delivered to one or more simplification station.At simplification station, each commodity unit is taken out or is selected from mix commodity set, is associated, and is placed in these containers with specific transmission container, and each transmits container and only have a unit.Under the guide of control system, transmit container and be introduced in connecting gear, then this control system guides by various control mechanisms the specific destination transmitting in container arrival material processed facility.As described below, in one embodiment, destination can be sorting station, and there, each commodity can be retrieved and can be placed into manually or automatically for example, position (case position or chest) corresponding to particular demands (customer order) manually or automatically from transmit container.Once transmit container, in destination, be set to null, connecting gear can but this must not transmitted to container and turn back to simplification station.

In linear sorting system, each commodity are introduced into or are placed on each pallet or transport sector as the fixation kit of the linear part of operatorless device.All fixed trays or transport sector are connected with linear precedence.Commodity unit is directly placed on mechanism for sorting.The linear order of linear sorting system and fixed tray/transport sector have limited the whole total volume of speed, the type that can be placed on the product in system and the system of device.These restrictions may cause operating the device of linear sorting system and the dual significant cost of manpower.

In the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system, each commodity unit is placed in single " floating " pallet, container or suitcase (be called herein and transmit container).Transmitting container is associated with the container identifier of identifying uniquely the transmission container in material processed facility.For example, each transmits container and can use bar code or radio frequency identifiers (RFID) mark.For example by the product of going into business, read or items scanning identifier and read or scan container identifier from container, be placed on the commodity that transmit in container and be associated with transmission container.Because transmit container each other and and operatorless device between nonlinear relationship, transmit container and be described as " floating ".Transmit container and be not fixed to any operatorless device, fixation kit that neither any operatorless device, and each transmits in container and system active other and transmits containers and have nonlinear relationship (that is the order that, transmission container there is no need).Transmitting container can remove or add to wherein from non-linear unit-level sortation system, and can be arranged on sorting system arbitrarily.Necessary or while wishing, transmit each position that container can be on the path of connecting gear (for example, at simplification station, sorting station or other positions) and remove or add to wherein from non-linear unit-level sortation system.In addition, various operatorless devices can be used in realizing the automation of using the non-linear unit-level sortation system that transmits container; The use of the transmission container that each can be associated with each commodity unit described herein does not rely on any specific operatorless device and transmits container and/or sort the unit wherein holding and arrive respective orders.

The embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system can be only with a segmentation, batch or process path type and realize the order processing in material processed facility, this can reduce the running cost of sorting.In addition, by creating each commodity and its associated transmission container and the nonlinear relationship between mechanism for sorting, the total throughout of sorting system or capacity are modular, and therefore the capacity of sorting system only limits by introducing the free space of additional transmission container to non-linear unit-level sortation system.

Thereby when comparing with linear sorting system, the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system can be provided in material processed facility and sorts commodity to the performance of improving of order.In linear sorting system, the increase of capacity/loading and unloading capacity typically requires allotment and the operation of additional operatorless device, and this is expensive and account for drain space, and typically needs much to add labour and operate.Contrast with it, in non-linear unit-level sortation system, cheap transmission container can be added to existing system, does not need to increase additional operatorless device and carrys out increase capacity/loading and unloading capacity.Do not need the additional space for additional device, and if have, needs labour is still less to work in the capacity of increase.

The exercisable speed of configuration possibility restraint device of the transport sector at least some linear sorting systems or pallet (for example, tilt tray), because some commodity may tend to fly from pallet under fair speed.The configuration of the transmission container using in embodiment, for example, there is pallet or the suitcase at relatively high edge, can help prevent commodity to fall down from connecting gear in fair speed, allow connecting gear necessary or operate at a relatively high speed while wishing, and do not worry that commodity Cong Gai mechanism falls down.

The big or small variation of the commodity of processing in the sort process in linear sorting system in addition, may need expensive adjustment or the replacing of operatorless device.Adjust linear sorting system device and may cause floor time.Contrast with it, in non-linear unit-level sortation system, the big or small variation of the commodity of processing typically may not need any variation in the automation of device or the unused time that does not cause device, because compare with the fixed linear pallet of linear sorting system, non-linear transmission container can be processed more kinds of sizes, and in addition, the transmission containers of different sizes by nonlinear system, processed and thereby be added to nonlinear system, and do not need any variation of operatorless device, or even suspend.For example, if with respect to current transmission container and the commodity of Yan Tai great are introduced in material processed facility, can use larger transmission container to replace or increase current transmission container.If transported in stock compared with small item, can use compared with brief biography and send container, this is favourable allowing aspect increase loading and unloading capacity, because nonlinear system can be processed more transmission container, loading and unloading capacity is only limited by the free space that is incorporated into the additive vessel of system.

In the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system, non-linear sorting can comprise the processing that is called as simplification.Simplification element relates to artificial from mix commodity set or machine and removes each commodity unit, and by each commodity unit, each is placed into and transmits in container, and each container has and only have a unit, and commodity are associated with transmission container.Commodity unit with transmit after container is associated and is placed on wherein, transmit container and can be routed to certain a bit or position by non-linear unit-level sortation system, there, (for example, customer order or ask other indicated commodity unit) grouping again together with other unit of the commodity that commodity can be associated with this unit in container.

Fig. 1 illustrates logical expressions or the view of the operation of material processed facility, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.For example, this figure can illustrate product dealer's Order Fulfillment center.A plurality of clients 10 can submit to order 20 to product dealer, and there, each order 20 is specified one or more commodity that will be transported to the client who submits this order to from stock 30.In order to fulfil customer order 20, in each order, one or more commodity of appointment can be fetched or choose by the stock (also referred to as storage repository) from material processed facility, as 40 indicated.If needed, the one or more stations in material processed facility can be sent or be sent to the commodity of selection, for sorting 50 to their corresponding orders, packs 60 and finally transport 70 to client 10.In the embodiment of non-linear flexible sorting system, selection commodity can be delivered to simplification station, and there, each commodity unit is associated with specific transmission container and is placed in specific transmission container, transmit container and are then introduced in connecting gear.Transmit container and then can under the guide of control system, according to current processed request (order), be routed to the specific destination that is included in the commodity in container, for example, sorting station.The exemplary sorting that can be used as the destination of transmitting container stands in and the following describes.The order of choosing, pack and transporting needn't comprise all commodity that client orders; Once from an inventory storage position, to client's shipment, transport the subset that can only comprise the order goods that can be used for transporting.

Material processed facility for example can also comprise, for from one or more sources, (seller) reception stock transports and operates for the stock of reception being put into the reception 80 of deposit godown.Receive 80 operations and can also receive and process commodity or order that return, that buy or that lease from client.Wherein at least some typically turn back to stock 30 to these commodity.The various operations of material processed facility can be positioned at a building or facility, or alternatively can distribute or cross over two or more buildings or facility.

Fig. 2 illustrates the example such as the physical layout of the material processed facility at Order Fulfillment facility or center, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.Any once in, one or more agencies of dealer 42 each all can from stock 30 selection commodity with fulfil one or more requests or order wherein partly or entirely.This can cause a plurality of imperfect or complete orders selection Commodity Flow and/or batch, then they be passed to the introducing point of non-linear unit-level sortation system (non-linear mechanism for sorting 52).Introduce point and can be called simplification station, wherein each commodity unit is associated with specific transmission container and is placed in specific transmission container, transmits container and is then introduced in connecting gear.Then connecting gear can transmit each transmission container that includes independent commodity unit to each order processing station 55 that can comprise one or more sortings station in material processed facility under the guide of control system, for transporting the processing before 70.At treating stations 55, part order can be received from sorter 42 or other stations at different time, made before completing the order processing at a station, the processing at this place, station may must wait for that one or more commodity of some order are passed to this station from selection and/or another station.

The commodity unit that is delivered to the selection for the treatment of stations via the transmission container on connecting gear can be processed at treating stations 55 under the guide of control system, for example, is sorted into their respective orders at sorting station.Once the processing of order commodity completes at a station, commodity can be passed to another station for further processing, for example, are delivered to sorting station to be sorted in order, or be delivered to packing station with packaged for transporting 70.

Order Fulfillment center can also comprise for receive stock from each seller transports one or more receptions of 90,80 operations.Then the stock receiving can be placed in deposit godown.Receive 80 operations and can also receive and process commodity that return, that buy or that lease from client.The various operations at Order Fulfillment center and website can be arranged in a building or facility, or alternatively can distribute or cross over two or more buildings or facility.

Fig. 3 illustrates the example physical layout such as the material processed facility at Order Fulfillment facility or center, can realize the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system in this material processed facility.From applicant, for example, for the request (order) of commodity, can between a plurality of sorters 42, divide, then sorter 42 mixes commodity batch from deposit godown 30 selections.The commodity unit of selection for example can be placed to, in the selection container 102 (, suitcase or go-cart) for transmitting.Order can again be divided between sorter 42; Therefore, two or more sorters 42 can be chosen the commodity of an order.The commodity batch that are different from direct transmission selection are introduced in immobilization carrier on automatic sorting mechanism or the linear automatic sorting mechanism of pallet to each commodity wherein, selection batch be passed to a simplification station 100 or a plurality of station (can have more than one simplification station 100), for example, for example, in selection container 102 (suitcase), each comprises one or more commodity unit, and each may comprise the commodity from two or more orders.

At simplification station 100, each unit can take out separately from each selection batch (for example, from a selection container 102).Alternatively, can " topple over " in common container (case, basket, shelf etc.) for all batches, and then unit can take out from common container.Then the unit of each taking-up is placed to and transmits container 104 (for example, suitcase or pallet), has and only has a unit to be placed on each and transmit in container 104.When this uses, container can include but not limited to be configured to receive in material processed facility each commodity unit or commodity unit batch any suitcase, basket, box, pallet or similar means.Transmit container 104 and be not fixed to any transport sector.Equally, only a commodity unit is placed in each transmission container 104.

The commodity unit taking out can be associated with its residing specific transmission container 104.In one embodiment, commodity unit can be carried out by reading, scan or key in the commodity sign symbol being associated with these commodity and the transmission container identifier being associated with the residing specific transmission container 104 in this unit with the associated of specific transmission container 104.Commodity sign symbol and container identifier 106 can be communicated to via wired and/or radio communication the control system 190 of material processed facility.Each transmits unique transmission container identifier that container 104 can comprise the specific transmission container 104 in unique identification material processed facility.Transmitting container identifier for example can be by appending to conveyer 104 or being integrated into the bar code, radio frequency identifiers (RFID) device of conveyer 104 or some can scan or can read mechanism, mark or label indication.

In stock 30, each unit of each commodity of carrying can comprise commodity sign symbol.The class I goods of holding in stock 30 herein can be referred to as commodity.Term commodity sign symbol represents the unique identifier that the commodity of every kind of particular type of carrying in the stock 30 with delivery system are associated.Terms unit can be used for representing (unit) of the commodity of a type.Typically, but not necessarily, with commodity sign, accord with each unit of mark.For example, commodity unit in stock or set can be used bar code, general commodity bar code (UPC), stockkeeping unit (SKU) code, sequence number and/or can be used as other indications (comprising ownership indication) mark of commodity sign symbol or stamp label to promote material processed facility operations, include but not limited to piling, rebind, choose, sort, pack and transport.These indications or code can identify commodity by category, and/or can identify each commodity in class I goods.

The chest of commodity unit, box, parcel or other set similarly commodity in use identifier are carried out mark or are stamped label.Commodity unit in set can be all the commodity of same type, for example one case 12 particular commodity unit or can be the wherein set of one or more unit of every kind of two or more variety classes commodity.The set of (a plurality of) commodity unit (for example comprise the chest of 12 commodity unit or comprise the wherein parcel of one or more unit of every kind of two or more variety classes commodity, such as three kinds of vannings of not ibideming or parcel collection) thereby can be considered to or be treated to " unit " in order fulfillment processes.Indication or code thereby can also be " unit " in order fulfillment processes by the set identification of (a plurality of) commodity unit.Thereby except sorting each commodity unit, the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system can also sort the set of (a plurality of) commodity unit of being appointed as unit.Therefore, transmission container described herein can receive (a plurality of) commodity unit set and each commodity unit that is designated as unit.

Material processed facility can comprise control system 190, control system 190 can include but not limited to one or more computer systems, one or more data storage apparatuss, one or more wired and/or wireless networks, Control System Software (program, module, actuator, user interface etc.) and one or more can scanning, (for example receive or detect for example, mark in each commodity (unit) or commodity set (chest) and label, bar code, radio frequency identification (RFID) label etc.) and the type of merchandise hand-held of communicating by letter for example to judge and recording commodity and/or commodity with one or more control stations of control system, move and/or fixed reader, scanner or scanner.Hand-held, mobile and/or fixed reader, scanner or scanner can also scan, receive or detect to append to and transmit container or integrated mark or the label (for example, bar code, radio frequency identification (RFID) label etc.) with transmitting container.The exemplary computer system that can use in control system 190 is shown in Figure 10.

At simplification station 100, the commodity sign symbol that the commodity unit of taking-up can be associated with commodity by read, scanning etc. and the transmission container identifier being associated with transmission container are associated with specific transmission container 104 to control system 190.This can manually (use hand held scanner by operator), via using the automatic scan of scanning constant instrument/reader/read process, or realize by the manually and automatic scan/combination of reading.For example, in unit, be placed to " segmentation " transmit container 104 before or during, the operator at 100 places, simplification station can scan out by hand held scanner the code of commodity unit, and reader can read (or may read) and transmit container identifier from the transmission container 104 for placing operator's " segmentation " of commodity unit automatically simultaneously.

Once the commodity unit taking out is associated with specific transmission container 104 and is placed in special container 104, transmit container 104 and (for example be directed into connecting gear to be transmitted 200, belt conveyor, roller system or other connecting gears), arrive thus one or more downstream station for the further processing of commodity unit.In each embodiment, connecting gear 200 can be to be included in the transmission sorter mechanism of under the control of control system, product being sent out to certain method of transfer path.The example that can be used as the transmission sorter mechanism of connecting gear 200 can include but not limited to footwear sorter mechanism and Pop-up sorter mechanism (such as Pop-up wheel sorter mechanism).Pop-up wheel sorter comprises and carries away forwarder product is sent out to forwarder to arrive different paths or locational electric drive wheel.The transmission sorter mechanism of other types can be used in each embodiment.

When unit is associated with container 104 and is placed in container 104, transmitting container 104 can be positioned on connecting gear 200.Alternatively, transmit container 104 and can fetch from transmitting container warehouse, stock or other supplies, unit can be associated with container 104 and be placed in container 104, and then container 104 can be introduced into or be placed on connecting gear 200.Transmit container 104 and be not fixed to connecting gear 200; But container 104 is removable chest, pallet, suitcase or allied equipment.Connecting gear 200 can be coupled to the control system 190 of material processed facility and by its control via wired and/or radio communication.Control system 190 can receive input or send order to guide or to control the various operations of connecting gear 200 to it from connecting gear 200.

The embodiment at simplification station 100 has been described above, at this simplification station, operating personal is carried out from selection commodity batch and is taken out commodity unit, scanning/read commodity to be placed at least a portion transmission container 104 with associated particular commodity unit with specific transmission container 104 and by unit with container 104.In alternative, some or all behaviors that are described as being carried out by operating personal can be carried out by automechanism, and this automechanism can be coupled to material processed facility control system 190 and controlled by it.

Once each transmission container 104 that comprises the commodity association that independent commodity unit and each all comprise with it is introduced in connecting gear 200, container 104 be transmitted or be routed to one or more treating stations wherein any one, various types of mechanism for sorting or process wherein one or more or material processed facility in other positions etc.In one embodiment, connecting gear can be guided by control system 190, thus each specific transmission container 104 of route.Because the particular commodity that each transmission container 104 comprises with it is associated, by following the tracks of it via the unique transmission container identifier that transmits container 104, control system 190 can be routed to particular commodity suitable destination.

Control system 190 can also comprise or can access about the information of the order in order processing stream: for example, in the process of which order in being fulfiled (, which order has been assigned to sorter), it is medium which order is chosen, which commodity is included in every order with quantity how.By the particular commodity being associated with specific transmission container being associated with just processed order via transmitting container identifier, the suitable destination that control system 190 can be routed to the transmission container 104 of the commodity unit that comprises specific indent order or part order (for example, to wherein specific one of one or more sortings station 152, there, specific indent is collected and divides into groups to be sent to selection and stand, or the station to other types, such as gift wrap station, there, for order or part order, even pre-packing processing is carried out in each commodity unit).Transmitting container 104 can automatically perform (for example guiding connecting gear 200 to be delivered to specific destination by transmitting container 104) and/or indicate with route or place the commodity that transmit container 104 and/or wherein comprise by providing to operating personal with the route that is included in particular commodity wherein.As the former example, when container 104 process connecting gear 200, the reader that is coupled to communicatedly control system 190 can read transmission container identifier from container 104 automatically, and then control system 190 can be guided in two or more paths of connecting gear 200 or branch specific one of connecting gear 200 this container is routed to and for example transmits this container to the branch at particular procedure station.Example as the latter, once container 104 is routed to or arrives the treating stations such as sorting station 152, can scan manually or automatically or read transmission container identifier from container 104, and then control system 190 can encourage the indicating device on particular box position as the correct destination of the commodity that comprise in container 104, chest, shelf etc.Indicating device can be that lamp, sound signal maybe can transmit audio frequency, video and/or other information to some other mechanism of operating personal or the combination of mechanism.Alternatively, indicating device can be presented on the monitor of computing machine, handheld device etc. or print to text or the image indication in paper output.

No matter container is routed to what destination (for example sorting station 152), once commodity unit takes out from its associated transmission container 104, commodity and container 104 can pass through control system 190 disassociations.Then empty (and not associated) transmission container 104 can be re-introduced into where necessary connecting gear 200 and (can have more than one simplification station 100 to turn back to for example simplification station 100; Therefore, container 104 needn't turn back to it from identical simplification station 100).Yet, when putting sky, transmit container 104 and needn't be reintroduced to immediately connecting gear 200.Transmit container 104 and do not fix or be attached to connecting gear 200, and on connecting gear 200, do not have the necessary order of container 104; Therefore,, when necessary or while needing, put empty transmission container 104 and can be removed or be placed on one side.When sky transmission container 104 passes through the return path arrival simplification website 100 of connecting gear 200, transmitting container 104 can be associated and for comprising and transmitting from the commodity unit of the mixing Resource selection of commodity, or alternatively necessary or be set to transmission container storage region or warehouse while needing.Equally, transmit container 104 and be not fixed to connecting gear 200, and not sequence on connecting gear 200.In other words, connecting gear 200 is nonlinear.

Describe the request or the order that according to commodity, are chosen above and for sorting mixing and unfiled commodity unit set, arrived the non-linear unit-level sortation system of each destination.Selection process to transmit for the unfiled commodity of fulfillment request batch or flow to continuously one or more simplification station 100.At simplification station 100, each commodity unit is removed, and is associated and is placed in container 104 with specific transmission container 104, has and only have a unit in each container 104.Transmit container 104 and under the guide of control system 190, be introduced in connecting gear 200, this control system 190 by various mechanism guides each all comprise and the container 104 of associated particular commodity unit to specific destination.In one embodiment, a this destination is sorting station 152, and there, each commodity can be fetched and be placed into manually or automatically the case position or chest corresponding to specific indent from transmitting container 104 manually or automatically.Exemplary sorting station 152 is as shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 A and 7B.The empty container 104 that transmits can turn back to from destination one or more simplification station 100.

As mentioned above, connecting gear 200 is nonlinear.Transmit container 104 and be not fixed to connecting gear 200, and do not sort on connecting gear 200.Connecting gear 200 comprises at least one transfer path from (a plurality of) simplification station 100 to one or more destinations, to transmit container 104 under the guide in control system 190 to one or more destinations, each transmits container 104 and comprises individual unit.At least one return path that connecting gear 200 one of also comprises from destination at least, for returning to the empty container that transmits to simplification station (a plurality of) 100.The additional empty container 104 that transmits be directed into connecting gear 200, for example, in order to increase the capacity of non-linear unit-level sortation system.The empty container 104 that transmits can be removed from connecting gear 200, for example, in order to reduce the capacity of non-linear unit-level sortation system.

Thereby, use non-linear unit-level sortation system described herein, when if desired, transmit container 104 and can add connecting gear 200 to or remove from it, for example, dynamically adjust the variation in loading and unloading capacity.Compare with for example fixed linear tilt tray mechanism for sorting, this can allow embodiment to obtain larger speed and total throughout, and fixed linear tilt tray mechanism for sorting has to fix the carrier of the fixed number of non-flexible circulation-supplied.And, compare with for example fixed linear tilt tray mechanism for sorting, transmit container 104 and can process the commodity of size and type widely, there is no lower limit aspect the commodity in can being placed on container 04 big or small, and the upper limit is the capacity/dimension of container 104 self.And, necessary or while wishing, the containers 104 of different sizes be directed in connecting gear 200.If there are larger pending commodity in a large number in material processed facility, can use larger container 104.If material processed facility is mainly processed small item, can use smaller container 104, this total number by the container 104 that allows can once transmit on connecting gear 200 increases.The maximum number that once can be positioned at the container on connecting gear 200 is limited by the size of container; Therefore, use smaller container can once on connecting gear 200, allow more container 104.And, unlike typically thering is a fixed size and for the linear fixed container mechanism for sorting of the fixing bearer configuration of mechanism for sorting, once can using the mixing of the containers 104 of different sizes and configuration on connecting gear 200.And, if the changes in demand of material processed facility, for example, if material processed facility increases or the mean size of the commodity that reduce to have in stock, by replacing some or all, transmit container 104 and make possibly some other relatively inexpensive modifications, non-linear unit-level sortation system can be adapted to simply, process fast and at an easy rate this variation, seldom or there is no a floor time, rather than replace or revise whole linear fixed container mechanism for sorting, replacing or revise whole linear fixed container mechanism for sorting may be process very expensive and consuming time, this may need a large amount of floor times.

Fig. 4 explanation is according to the exemplary transmission container of an embodiment.Transmit container 104 can be, but not limited to be configured in material processed facility to receive each commodity unit or commodity unit batch suitcase, basket, box, pallet or similar means.Transmit container 104 and can there is all size, capacity and configuration.Transmit container 104 and be not fixed to connecting gear 200, and thereby transmit container 104 and can add in connecting gear 200 or from it and remove.Only a commodity unit is placed in each transmission container 104.

Each transmits container 104 and can be associated with unique transmission container identifier 106 of the specific transmission container 104 of unique identification in material processed facility.Transmit container identifier 106 and can be to be for example attached to and transmit container 104 or integrated bar code, radio frequency identifiers (RFID) device or some can scan or can read mark, label or device with transmitting container 104.Fig. 4 illustrates that transmitting container 104 is included in two positions and appends to and transmit container 104 or the integrated container identifier 106 with transmitting container 104.Yet, transmit container 104 can have append to container or with integrated one, two or more container identifier 106 of container.Container identifier 106 can for good and all be fixed to and transmit container 104, or alternatively can add/removable.

The commodity unit taking out can be associated with its residing specific transmission container 104.In one embodiment, commodity unit can be by reading, scan or the identifier that key entry is associated with commodity and transmission container identifier 106 execution that are associated with the residing specific transmission container 104 in this unit with the associated of specific transmission container 104.Commodity sign symbol and container identifier 106 can be communicated to via wired and/or radio communication the control system 190 of material processed facility.

Fig. 5 illustrates according to the operation at the exemplary simplification station of an embodiment.The request for commodity (for example order) from applicant can be divided between a plurality of sorters, commodity that then sorter mixes from stock warehouse selection batch or set.One or more selections unit 108 of one or more commodity for example can be placed into, in selection container 102 (suitcase or go-cart) for transmitting.Mix commodity sort out batch or set can be passed or be sent to simplification station 100, for example, in selection container 102, each selection container 102 all comprises one or more unit of one or more commodity, and each all may comprise the commodity from two or more orders.Thereby each selection container can comprise the classification of each commodity that are used to one or more order selections.

The empty container 104 that transmits can the one or more positions from material processed facility (for example,, from one or more sortings station 152) turn back to simplification station 100 on connecting gear 200.The supply 114 that transmits container 104 can remain near 100 places, simplification station or its.The container 104 arriving can be retained on connecting gear 200 for receiving, holding and transmit commodity unit 108, or alternatively, can be removed and be placed in supply 114.

At simplification station 100, commodity unit 108 for example can take out from selection container 102 by operating personal.Alternatively, can " topple over " in common container (chest, basket, shelf etc.) for all batches, and then unit 108 can take out from common container.The additive method of commodity being introduced to simplification station 100 is possible; For example, the commodity unit of taking-up can be sent to simplification station 100 in belt conveyor or roller system.The unit 108 taking out can be associated and be placed in container 104 with specific transmission container 104.One and only unit 108 transmit container 104 with each and be associated and be placed to and transmit in container 104.

In one embodiment, commodity unit can be by reading, scan or key in the identifier being associated with these commodity and the unique transmission container identifier being associated with the residing specific transmission container 104 in unit 108 106 execution with the associated of specific transmission container 104.In one embodiment, fixing, mobile or hand-held reader 194 can be used for reading or items scanning identifier and container identifier 106.The commodity unit 108 taking out can be manually (for example with the associated of specific transmission container 104, by operator, use hand held scanner) carry out, via using the automatic scan of scanning constant instrument/reader/read processing execution, or carry out by the manually and automatic scan/combination of reading.For example, the operator at simplification station 100 can unit is placed on " segmentation " transmit container 105 before or during use hand held scanner to scan out the code of commodity unit, and automation reader can be from placing commodity unit to wherein and the transmission container 104 of segmentation reads transmission container identifier for operator.The commodity sign symbol and the container identifier 106 that read and scan can be communicated to via wire/wireless communication the control system 190 of material processed facility.

Once the commodity unit 108 taking out is associated and is placed on wherein with specific transmission container 104, transmit container 104 and (for example be directed into connecting gear 200, belt conveyor, roller system or other connecting gear) to be transmitted, be sent to thus one or more downstream station for the further processing of commodity unit.In Fig. 5, connecting gear 200 is shown the transmission container 104 that comprises commodity unit is sent to one or more sortings station 152, and returns to empty receptacle 104 from (a plurality of) sorting station 152.The exemplary sorting station 152 of transmitting transmission container 104 by connecting gear 200 is shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 A and 7B.In each embodiment, connecting gear 200 can be to be included under the control of control system product to divide the transmission sorter mechanism someway of passing out transfer path.The example that can be used as the transmission sorter mechanism of connecting gear 200 includes but not limited to footwear sorter mechanism and Pop-up sorter mechanism (such as the wheeled sorter of Pop-up mechanism).Other embodiment can be used other mechanisms as connecting gear 200.

When unit 108 is associated with container 104 and is placed to wherein, transmitting container 104 can be positioned in mechanism 200.Alternatively, transmit container 104 and can fetch from transmitting container 104 warehouses, stock or other supplies 114, unit 108 can be associated and be placed to wherein with container 104, and then container 104 can be introduced into or be placed on connecting gear 200.Once all comprising the transmission container 104 that independent commodity unit 108 and each commodity that comprise with it are associated, each at simplification station 100, is introduced in connecting gear 200, container 104 can be sent to one or more treating stations wherein any one, one or more in all kinds mechanism for sorting, or other positions of material processed facility etc.For example, transmit container 104 and can be sent to sorting station 152.

Connecting gear 200 can be coupled to material processed facility control system 190 and controlled by it via wired and/or radio communication.Control system 190 can receive input and send order to guide or to control the various operations of connecting gear 200 to it from connecting gear 200.Control system 190 for example can be controlled connecting gear 200 and arrive specific sorting station 152 with the unit 102 that guides specific transmission container 104 and be associated, as shown in Figure 5.

In one embodiment, operating personal can be carried out from selection commodity batch and take out commodity unit 108, scans/read commodity and container 104 with at least a portion associated particular commodity unit 108 and specific transmission container 104 and transmission container 104 these operations of unit being placed at simplification station 100.In alternative, the some or all of activities that are described to operating personal execution can be carried out by automechanism, and this automechanism can be coupled to the control system 190 of material processed facility and controlled by it.

Fig. 6 illustrates the operation at the exemplary sorting station that can use in the embodiment of non-linear unit-level sortation system.Once each all comprises the transmission container 104 that independent commodity unit 108 and each commodity that all comprise with it are associated, be introduced in connecting gear 200, at least some transmit containers 104 can be sent to sorting station 152.In one embodiment, connecting gear can be guided to dispose each specific transmission container 104 by control system 190.Because the particular commodity that each transmission container 104 comprises with it is associated, by following the tracks of specific transmission container 104 via its unique transmission container identifier 106, control system 190 can guide connecting gear that specific transmission container 104 and the commodity unit 108 that is associated thereof are routed to sorting station 152 from the simplification station 100 of starting.

For specific transmission container 104 and the commodity unit 108 that is associated thereof are routed to specific destination, control system 190 can also comprise or can access about the information of the order in order processing stream: in the process of which order in being fulfiled (, which order has been assigned to sorter), it is medium which order is chosen, which commodity is included in order with quantity how.Control system can be associated the specific transmission container 104 that comprises particular commodity unit 108 with current specific indent processed in order fulfillment processes, and transmission container 104 can be routed to the suitable destination (for example, the sorting station 152 of Fig. 6) of this order.The route that transmits container 104 can automatically perform (for example, by control system 190, guiding connecting gear 200 to transmit container 104 to specific destination to transmit).As example, be coupled to communicatedly control system 190 reader can container 104 on connecting gear 200 by time automatically from container 104, read transmission container identifier, and control system 190 then can guide connecting gear 200 by the container on specific in two or more paths of connecting gear 200 or branch be routed to for example transmit this container to sorting station 152 path.

Control system 190 can also provide about route or place the sense of hearing, vision or other indications that transmits container 104 and/or be included in commodity unit 108 wherein for operating personal.For example, once specific transmission container 104 arrives sorting station 152, transmit container identifier 106 and can from container 104, be scanned or read and be communicated to control system 190 manually or automatically.In one embodiment, fixing, mobile or hand-held reader 196 can be used for reading or scans and transmits container identifier 106.After transmission container identifier 106 is read, control system 190 can activate the indicating device 158 being associated with the specific indent case position 156 of sorting the order sorting case 154 at 152 places, station, and specific indent case position 156 is positioned at and is assigned to and thereby the order that with the commodity unit 108 that wherein comprise be associated that be associated with container 104.Indicating device 158 can be lamp, sound signal or can transmit to operating personal some other mechanisms or Mechanism Combination of audio frequency, video and/or other information.Alternatively or except near the indicating device 158 of the physical layout case position 156 on case 154 in sorting, text and/or figure commodity placement direction may be displayed on the monitor of computing machine, handheld device etc. or print to that paper output is upper to be checked for stand (a plurality of) operator at 152 places of sorting.

Can exist and sort the 152 one or more order processings stations 155 that are associated, station.In this example, order processing station 155 is positioned at the opposite side of order sorting case 154.Order processing station 155 can be for example packing station, and there, one or more commodity unit 108 of order is processed, packing and mark to be to transport to client.Order case position 156 can be inserted into a side of placing commodity unit 108 by straight-through, and particular commodity unit 108 or set can be shifted out with processed from this order case position 156.In one embodiment, as indicated in control system 190, commodity unit 108 can remove from transmitting container 104, and (be for example placed into particular box position, commodity 108 are shown and are placed into case position (3,2) in), the indicating device 158 that the case position 156 being for example placed with unit 108 by control system 190 activation is associated, to indicate the unit 108 from current container 104 will be placed on this case position 156 to operator.Sorting case 154 can also comprise the indicating device being associated with case position 156 in order processing station 155 sides, control system 190 can activate this indicating device and indicate particular box position 156 to be ready to processed (for example, all unit 108 of all commodity of order have been placed on this case position) with the operator to 155 places, order processing station.In this example, control system has completed to the order 160 in (a plurality of) operator's indication box position (2,1) at 155 places, order processing station.Then operator can take out order 160 for further processing from this case position 156.

Under the guide of control system 190, use simplification station 100, each includes the transmission container 104 of a commodity unit 108 and the sort process of connecting gear 200 can be so that sorting station 152 operators needn't be scanned each commodity in sort process.In one embodiment, when container 104 arrives or enter the position of sorting station 152 (there, operator removes unit 108 from container), transmission container identifier 106 can be read device 196 and automatically read.Operator thereby can remove simply unit 108, checks which indicating device 156 is current to be activated by control system 190, and unit 108 is placed in the case position 154 being associated.

Once the transmission container 104 being associated from it in 152 commodity unit 108, sorting station takes out, commodity and container 104 can be in control system 190 disassociation.Control system 190 can judge via the processing at 152 places, sorting station, or alternatively can via operator and control system 190 to be apprised of alternately transmission container 104 be empty now.For example, necessary or while wishing, then empty (and not associated) transmission container 104 can be re-introduced into connecting gear 200 to return, and turns back to simplification station 100.In material processed facility, can there is more than one simplification station 100; Therefore, container 104 needn't turn back to its identical simplification station 100 of starting.When putting sky, transmit container 104 and needn't be reintroduced to immediately connecting gear 200.Transmit container 104 and do not fix or append to connecting gear 200, and on connecting gear 200, do not have must sorting of container 104; Therefore,, when necessary or while wishing, put empty transmission container 104 and can be removed or be placed on one side.

Fig. 7 A and 7B illustrate respectively according to lateral plan and the top view at the exemplary sorting station of an embodiment and the order processing station that is associated.In this example, sorting station 152 comprises two order sorting case 154A and 154B.Order processing station 155A is positioned at the opposite side of order sorting case 154A, and order processing station 155B is positioned at the opposite side of order sorting case 154B.Connecting gear 200 can be incorporated into specific transmission container 104 sorting station 152 as container 104A current or that activate.In one embodiment, using container 104A as the container 104A activating, introduce sorting station at 152 o'clock or before, reader 196 (seeing Fig. 7 B) can read container identifier 106 from container 104A.Then control system 190 can activate indicating device 158 on one or the other the specific indent case position 156 in order sorting case 154 to indicate the commodity unit in the container 104A of activation will be placed in the order case position 156 being associated to operator.After taking out from the container 104A activating at commodity and being placed into case position 156, indicating device can deexcitation, and control system 190 can so that the container 104A disassociation of commodity and activation be take indication container, 104A be sky.Then the container 104A activating can be sent to the return path of connecting gear 200, and the next one on connecting gear 200 transmits the container introducing that container 104B can be used as activation.

Sorting case 154 can also comprise the indicating device being associated with the case position 156 of order processing station 155 sides, control system 190 can activate this indicating device and indicate particular box position 156 to be ready to processed (for example, all unit 108 of all commodity of order have been placed in this case position) with the operator to 155 places, order processing station.Once control system completes to the order in (a plurality of) operator's indication box position 156 at 155 places, order processing station, operator then can be from case position 156 takes out orders for further processing.In an embodiment, sorting case 154 can have different configurations.For example, in Fig. 7 B, sorting case 154A is shown and has the Bu Tong case position 156 of size with 154B.

In one embodiment, one or more other containers (for example, transmission suitcase 162) can be positioned near sorting 152 places, station or its.After the container identifier 106 of container 104 that reads activation, control system 190 can activate an indication (for example lamp), indicates commodity in the container 104 of activation to be placed to for example transmit in suitcase 162 to operator.When transmission suitcase 162 is full, then operator can transmit or introduce another connecting gear by transmission suitcase 162, to transmit transmission suitcase 162 to another treating stations or destination in material processed facility.Transmission suitcase 162 can be used the transmission suitcase identifier mark in addition that is similar to transmission container identifier, and thereby can be followed the tracks of by control system 190.At transmission suitcase 162, after sorting station 152 is transmitted, new transmission suitcase 162 can be placed in sorting station 152.

The order of treated (for example packing) and/or can transmit 210 from order processing station 155 and/or sorting is stood and 152 is transmitted via treated order/transmission suitcase such as other containers of transmission suitcase 162, as shown in Figure 7 B.It can be for example conveyer mechanism, roller system, manual or motorization trailer or some other mechanisms that treated order/transmission suitcase transmits 210.

Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 A and 7B illustrate and describe the embodiment at sorting station 152, in this sorting station 152, operating personal is carried out at least a portion and is operated below: from transmitting container 108 retrieval units 108, and the case position 156 that these unit is placed into order sorting case 156.In alternative, be described as can carrying out by one or more automechanisms in the sorting station 152 some or all of behaviors of being carried out by operating personal, these one or more automechanisms can be coupled under material processed facility control system 190 and the guide in material processed facility control system 190 and control.

Fig. 8 A to 8E illustrates the exemplary configuration of the order sorting case that can use in each embodiment.In each embodiment, sorting case 154 can have different configurations, and the sorting casees with different configurations can one be used from the enforcement of using the non-linear unit-level sortation mechanism that is similar to the sorting station 152 shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 A and 7B.The case position that sorting case can have different sizes holds greater or lesser order and/or greater or lesser commodity.Fig. 8 A illustrates has 112 6 " * 6 " order of case position sorting case.Fig. 8 B illustrates has 32 12 " * 12 " order of case position sorting case.Fig. 8 C illustrates has 24 12 " * 18 " order of case position sorting case.Fig. 8 D illustrates has 24 16 " * 16 " order of case position sorting case.Fig. 8 E illustrates and comprises 6 16 " * 16 " case position, 8 12 " * 18 " case position, 8 12 " * 12 " case position and 22 9 " * 9 " the exemplary mixing order utility box of case position.

Fig. 9 is the diagram of circuit illustrating according to the method for operation in the non-linear unit-level sortation system of an embodiment.It is can be how integrated to be formed for processing the mixing batch of selection commodity or the sorting of stream to fulfil the non-linear unit-level sortation system of the order in material processed facility that this diagram of circuit illustrates each assembly described herein (for example, transmission container, connecting gear, one or more sortings station and the control station of one or more simplification station, a plurality of free floatings that each is identified by unique container identifier).Method as described in Figure 9 can be implemented as by the non-linear unit-level sortation system in material processed facility continuously or approach continuous process, with by the continuous of the mixing commodity of selection or approach continuous inlet flow and be sorted in their corresponding orders.

Element 200 to 206 can be at simplification station (such as at the simplification station 100 shown in Fig. 3 and 5) locate to carry out.Element 208 can pass through connecting gear (connecting gear 200 shown in Fig. 3,5,6,7A and 7B) to be carried out, and as shown in these figures, this connecting gear can be controlled by control system 190.Can executive software assembly and the exemplary computer system of the function of control system 190 shown in Figure 10.Element 210 to 216 can be located to carry out at sorting station (the sorting station 152 shown in Fig. 3,6,7A and 7B).

Selection in material processed facility process the sort out that can be created in the variety classes commodity that for example, mix in one or more set (, in selection container) unit batch or stream.Commodity set can be passed in the one or more simplification station in material processed facility.As shown in 200, at simplification station, can be from comprising that the commodity set of variety classes commodity unit of the deposit godown sort out of material processed facility selects individual unit to fulfil a plurality of orders.In each embodiment, from this Resource selection individual unit, can carry out manually or automatically.As shown in 202, the container identifier that the commodity sign of selected unit symbol can transmit container with sky is associated.For commodity sign symbol is associated with transmission container, can from selected unit, read manually or automatically commodity sign by fixing or hand held scanner or reader and accord with, and can from placing the transmission container of selected unit, read manually or automatically container identifier by fixing or hand held scanner or reader.In one embodiment, container identifier can by append to transmit container or with transmitting container integrated bar code indicate, and in order to read container identifier from transmitting container, for example can be by fixing or hand held scanner from transmitting container electronic scanning bar code.In one embodiment, container identifier can be with transmitting container or integrated radio frequency identifiers (RFID) the label indication with transmitting container by appending to, and in order to read container identifier from transmitting container, for example, can from transmitting container, read RFID label by fixing or handhold RFID reader.Commodity sign symbol and container identifier can be communicated to control system, and two identifiers can be associated there.Control system also comprises the information about the order when pre-processing, and thereby can be associated with the specific indent of at least one commodity unit of indication transmitting container and being included in the commodity that transmit in container.

As shown in 204, selected unit can be placed in associated transmission container, and as shown in 206, the transmission container that comprises selected unit can be introduced in connecting gear to be sent to the destination in material processed facility, such as sorting station.The empty container that transmits can near the container supply department from simplification station or it be fetched before introducing, or alternatively can be positioned on connecting gear, and for example transmitting container can be the empty receptacle returning from sorting station via connecting gear.Transmit container and be not fixed to connecting gear, and therefore can, necessary or wish time, be placed on connecting gear or from it and remove.

As shown in 208, connecting gear can be sent to specific in the one or more sortings station in material processed facility by transmitting container, and this specific sorting station is to specify to be included in this transmission container and the destination of the order of at least one unit of the commodity that are associated with this transmission container.Control system can guide connecting gear that transmission container is routed to correct destination, and for example, sorting station, there, specifies the order that is included at least one the commodity unit in transmission container to be collected to process.

As shown in 210, the transmission container that comprises particular commodity unit can be received at sorting station.As shown in 212, at sorting station, particular commodity unit can remove manually or automatically from transmitting container.As shown in 214, then this unit can be placed into the ad-hoc location at the place, sorting station being associated with order manually or automatically, at least one unit of the particular commodity that this order indication is associated with transmission container.In one embodiment, ad-hoc location can be the particular box position of order sorting case, such as one of example order sorting case 154 shown in Fig. 6 to 8E.

In one embodiment, for unit being placed into the ad-hoc location at sorting station, can read manually or automatically container identifier from being positioned at sorting station or near the transmission container it, and the indicating device being associated with this ad-hoc location can be activated automatically in response to reading container identifier, thereby the unit of the particular commodity being associated with transmission container to operator's indication should be placed into this ad-hoc location.

As shown in 216, empty transmit container can but the return path that must not be introduced in connecting gear transmission container is turned back to one of one or more simplification station.Control system can be guided connecting gear that sky is transmitted to container and turn back to specific in one or more simplification station, or alternatively can guide transfer system that sky is transmitted to container to be routed to some other destination.At simplification station, the sky that returns transmits container and can be associated with another commodity, receives the commodity unit of selecting from set, and then under the guide of control system, is transmitted mechanism and sends back simplification station or another destination.Alternatively, can be at (a plurality of) sorting station, (a plurality of) simplification station or on the way the destination of other positions or connecting gear from connecting gear, remove the empty container that transmits.

Exemplary system

In one embodiment, the system that realizes one or more assemblies of non-linear unit-level sortation system described herein can comprise and contains or be configured to the general-purpose computing system that the one or more computing machines of access can access media, all computer systems 900 as shown in figure 10.In the embodiment shown, computer system 900 comprises the one or more treaters 910 that are coupled to system storage 920 via I/O (I/O) interface 930.Computer system 900 also comprises the network interface 940 that is coupled to I/O interface 930.

In each embodiment, computer system 900 can be the single processor system that comprises a treater 910, or comprises the multi-processor system of some treaters 910 (for example, two, four, eight or other suitable numbers).Treater 910 can be the treater that can carry out any appropriate of instruction.For example, in each embodiment, treater 910 can be to carry out such as x86, PowerPC, SPARC or MIPS ISA or any one general or flush bonding processor of the various instruction set architectures (ISA) of other suitable ISA arbitrarily.In multi-processor system, each treater 910 can but must jointly not realize identical ISA.

System storage 920 can be configured to storage can be by the instruction and data of (a plurality of) treater 910 accesses.In each embodiment, system storage 920 can use such as static RAM (SRAM), synchronous dynamic ram (SDRAM), nonvolatile/flash type memory device or the memory technology enforcement of any appropriate of other types memory device arbitrarily.In described embodiment, the programmed instruction of execution required function (such as above-mentioned these methods and the technology of the control system 190 for non-linear unit-level sortation system) and data are shown as code 925 and are stored in system storage 920.

In one embodiment, I/O interface 930 can be configured to the I/O flow between any external equipment (comprising network interface 940 and other peripheral interfaces) in coprocessor 910, system storage 920 and device.In certain embodiments, I/O interface 930 for example can be carried out any necessary agreement, sequential or other data transfer, for example, digital signal from an assembly (system storage 920) is converted to the form that is suitable for another assembly (treater 910) use.In certain embodiments, I/O interface 930 can comprise for by the support of the additional device of various types of peripheral buses (such as the modification of periphery component interconnection (PCI) bus standard or USB (USB) standard).In certain embodiments, the function of I/O interface 930 can be divided in two or more independent assemblies, for example north bridge and south bridge.And, in certain embodiments, some or all functional can being directly included in treater 910 of the I/O interface 930 such as the interface of system storage.

Network interface 940 can be configured to allow data in computer system 900 and be attached to exchange between other devices in network 800 (such as other computer systems of the assembly as non-linear unit-level sortation system, communicator, control mechanism, reader, scanner etc.).Communication channel can include but not limited to conventional and vehicular telephone and text message communications channel.Network interface 940 can be supported one or more wireless network protocols (for example Wi-Fi/IEEE802.11 or other Wireless Networking standards) jointly.Yet in each embodiment, network interface 940 can be supported the communication via the wired or wireless conventional data network of any appropriate of the ethernet such as other types.In addition, network interface 940 can be supported via the telecommunication/telephone network such as analog voice network or digital fiber communication network, such as the storage area network of optical-fibre channel SAN or the network of other suitable type and/or the communication of agreement arbitrarily.

In certain embodiments, system storage 920 can be the embodiment that computing machine can access media, this computing machine can access media be configured to storage for the programmed instruction described in Fig. 1 to 9 and data, for carrying out control system and other assemblies of possibility of non-linear unit-level sortation system.Yet in other embodiments, programmed instruction and/or data can receive in access media, send and storage at dissimilar computing machine.Generally speaking, computing machine can access media can comprise storage medium or the storage medium such as magnetic or optical medium, for example, via I/O interface 930, be coupled to dish or the DVD/CD of computer system 900.Computing machine can access media can also comprise such as any volatibility such as RAM (such as SDRAM, DDR SDRAM, RDRAM, SRAM etc.), ROM or non-volatile media, they can be included in some embodiment of computer system 900, as the memory device of system storage 920 or other types.And computing machine can access media can comprise transmission medium or the signal such as electricity, electromagnetism or digital signal transmitting via the communication media such as network and/or wireless link (such as realizing via network interface 940).

Each embodiment can also comprise the reception, transmission or the storage instruction that according to aforementioned description that can access media about computing machine, realize and/data.Generally speaking, computing machine can access media can comprise storage medium or the storage medium such as magnetic or optical medium, for example coil or DVD/CD-ROM, such as volatibility or the non-volatile media of RAM (such as SDRAM, DDR SDRAM, RDRAM, SRAM etc.), ROM etc., and transmission medium or the signal such as electricity, electromagnetism or the digital signal of the communication media transmission via such as network and/or wireless link.

Represent as shown in drawings the exemplary embodiment of this method with the whole bag of tricks described herein.Method can be implemented with software, hardware or its combination.The order of method can change, and multi-form key element can be added, resequences, combines, omits, modification etc.

For those skilled in the art of understanding benefit of the present disclosure, obviously can make various variants and modifications.Be intended to show, all these variants and modifications are contained in the present invention, and correspondingly, foregoing description is considered to explanation but not restrictive sense.

Claims (50)

1. a non-linear unit-level sortation system, comprises:
Control system;
Connecting gear;
A plurality of transmission containers, wherein each transmits the container identifier that container is included in retailer's interior this transmission container of unique identification of material processed facility, and wherein this transmission container is not fixed to this connecting gear;
Simplification station, is operating as:
From the set of stock commodity, select the individual unit of stock commodity, the unit that wherein this stock commodity set comprises different types of commodity of choosing from the stock stock of this material processed facility is to fulfil a plurality of customer orders, and each of wherein said a plurality of customer orders is indicated the one or more purchase of one or more clients of this retailer to this individual unit;
To this control system, send the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit of indication with each transmits the associated data of the container identifier of container in the plurality of transmission container, wherein each commodity sign symbol and the stock commodity corresponding with selected unit are associated; And
Each that comprises individual unit transmitted to container and be incorporated into this connecting gear;
Wherein there is and only have a unit to be associated with each the transmission container being introduced in this connecting gear.
2. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 1, also comprises sorting station, and wherein this connecting gear is operating as based on this container identifier the transmission container that comprises single stockist article unit is sent to this sorting station from this simplification station.
3. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 2, wherein this sorting station is operating as:
The transmission container that reception comprises specific stockist article unit;
From this transmission container, remove this specific stockist article unit; And
This specific stockist article unit is sent to the ad-hoc location at the sorting station being associated with one of described a plurality of customer orders, at least one unit of these specific stock commodity that the indication of one of described a plurality of customer orders is associated with described transmission container.
4. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 3, wherein this sorting station is operating as sky is transmitted to the return path that container is incorporated into this connecting gear, and wherein the return path of this connecting gear is configured to that this sky is transmitted to container and turns back to this simplification station.
5. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 4, wherein this simplification station is operating as and from this connecting gear, removes the sky returning and transmit container.
6. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 4, wherein this simplification station is operating as:
The commodity sign symbol of selected unit is associated with the container identifier that the sky returning transmits container; And
The transmission container returning that comprises selected unit is incorporated into this connecting gear, and from this connecting gear, does not remove the transmission container that this returns.
7. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 3, wherein this control system is configured to remove the associated of these specific stock commodity and this transmission container after removing this specific stockist article unit from this transmission container.
8. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 3, wherein this sorting station comprises that each all comprises one or more customer order sorting casees of a plurality of customer order casees position, and wherein this ad-hoc location is specific in a plurality of customer order casees position in one of these one or more customer order sorting casees.
9. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 3, wherein, for this specific stockist article unit being sent to the ad-hoc location at the sorting station that the customer order bought with this indication is associated, this control system is configured to:
At this sorting station, from this transmission container, read this container identifier; And
Activate the indicating device being associated with this ad-hoc location and will be sent to this ad-hoc location with the specific stockist article unit being associated with this transmission container to operator's indication.
10. non-linear unit-level sortation system as claimed in claim 3, wherein this control system is also configured to:
Whether one of the plurality of customer order that judgement is associated with this ad-hoc location completes; And
If one of the plurality of customer order completes, activate the indicating device be associated with this ad-hoc location to indicate one of the plurality of customer order of being associated with this position complete and be ready to processed to operator.
11. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, wherein, in order to communicate by letter that with control system the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit is associated with the container identifier of a transmission container in the plurality of transmission container, this simplification station is operating as:
From selected unit, read commodity sign symbol;
From selected unit, want associated transmission container to read container identifier; And
This commodity sign symbol and this container identifier are conveyed to control system.
12. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 11, wherein this container identifier is by appending to this transmission container or indicating with the integrated bar code of this transmission container, and wherein, in order to read container identifier from transmitting container, this simplification station is operating as from this this bar code of transmission container electronic scanning.
13. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 11, wherein this container identifier by append to this transmission container or with the indication of integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) label of this transmission container, and wherein, in order to read container identifier from transmitting container, this simplification station is operating as from this transmission container electronics and reads this RFID label.
14. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, wherein this connecting gear is to transmit sorter mechanism.
15. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 14, wherein this transmission sorter mechanism is footwear sorters.
16. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, also comprise two or more sorting stations, the transmission container identifier that wherein this control system is configured to the transmission container based on introducing guides this connecting gear the transmission container of the introducing that comprises single stockist article unit to be sent to the specific sorting station this sorting station from this simplification station.
17. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, also comprise two or more simplification stations, and wherein each simplification station is operating as:
From stock commodity Resource selection individual unit, the unit that wherein this stock commodity set comprises the variety classes commodity of sort out from the stock stock of this material processed facility is to fulfil customer order;
Communicate by letter so that the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit is associated with the container identifier that transmits container with this control system; And
Each that comprises individual unit transmitted to container and be incorporated into this connecting gear.
18. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, wherein this connecting gear comprises from this simplification station transfer path to one or more destinations under the guide of control system, the transmission container that comprises individual unit is sent to this one or more destinations, and wherein this connecting gear also comprises at least one return path that comes from least one destination and turns back to this simplification station sky is transmitted to container.
19. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, wherein the commodity sign of each selected unit symbol comprises the stockkeeping unit SKU code being associated with stock commodity corresponding to selected unit.
20. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 17, wherein this transmission container is configured to be removed to reduce from this connecting gear the capacity of this non-linear unit-level sortation system.
21. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plurality of transmission container comprises at least two transmission containers of different sizes.
22. 1 kinds of non-linear unit-level sortation methods, comprise:
From the simplification station of product dealer's material processed facility, receive the commodity sign symbol of specific stock commodity and the container identifier of specific transmission container, wherein each the comfortable simplification station, each commodity unit from the set of stock commodity is placed in independent transmission container;
The commodity sign symbol of these specific stock commodity is associated with the container identifier of this specific transmission container; And
This specific transmission container is associated with particular customer order, and wherein this particular customer order is specified at least one unit of these specific stock commodity;
The specific transmission container that wherein comprises this specific stockist article unit is introduced in connecting gear at this simplification station, wherein this connecting gear is configured to this transmission container to be sent to the treating stations of this material processed facility, and wherein this transmission container is not fixed to this connecting gear; And
The unit that is wherein included in the specific stock commodity in transmission container is sent to the ad-hoc location of this treating stations.
23. non-linear unit-level sortation methods according to claim 22, wherein this material processed facility comprises a plurality for the treatment of stations, and wherein this connecting gear is routed to by this specific transmission container the particular procedure station that will process this particular customer order.
24. non-linear unit-level sortation methods according to claim 22, wherein, for the ad-hoc location that is included in specific stockist article unit in this transmission container and is sent to this treating stations, activate the indicating device being associated with the ad-hoc location of this treating stations, with the specific stockist article unit being included in this transmission container to operator's indication, will be sent to this ad-hoc location.
25. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 22, wherein this treating stations is customer order sorting station.
26. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 22, wherein, for the ad-hoc location that is included in specific stockist article unit in this transmission container and is sent to this treating stations, from this treating stations, receive the indication that this specific transmission container has arrived this treating stations.
27. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 26, the indication wherein receiving from this treating stations is the container identifier being associated with this specific transmission container.
28. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 27, wherein, when this specific transmission container is during through reader on this connecting gear, read this container identifier by the reader closing on this treating stations from this specific transmission container electronically.
29. 1 kinds of non-linear unit-level sortation methods, comprising:
From stock commodity Resource selection individual unit, the unit that wherein this stock commodity set comprises the variety classes commodity of sort out from the stock stock of dealer's material processed facility is to fulfil a plurality of customer orders, and each of wherein said a plurality of customer orders is indicated the one or more purchase of one or more clients of this dealer to described individual unit;
In the control system of this material processed facility, the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit is associated with each container identifier that transmits container in a plurality of transmission containers, wherein this commodity sign symbol and the stock commodity corresponding with selected unit are associated, and wherein this container identifier identifies the transmission container in this material processed facility uniquely; And
Each that comprises individual unit transmitted to container to be incorporated in connecting gear;
Wherein have and only have a unit be associated and be placed to wherein with each the transmission container that is introduced into this connecting gear, and wherein this transmission container is not fixed to this connecting gear.
30. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, also comprise and via this connecting gear, the transmission container that comprises single stockist article unit are sent to sorting station from simplification station.
31. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, also comprise:
Via this connecting gear, at sorting station, receive the transmission container that comprises specific stockist article unit;
From this transmission container, remove this specific stockist article unit; And
This specific stockist article unit is sent to the ad-hoc location at the sorting station being associated with one of the plurality of customer order, at least one unit of the specific stock commodity that the indication of one of the plurality of customer order is associated with this transmission container.
32. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 31, also comprise:
Sky is transmitted to the return path that container is incorporated into this connecting gear; And
Return path via this connecting gear sends back simplification station by this sky transmission container.
33. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 32, are also included in this simplification station and from this connecting gear, remove the sky transmission container returning.
34. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 32, also comprise:
The commodity sign symbol of selected unit is associated with the container identifier that the sky returning transmits container; And
The transmission container returning that comprises selected unit is incorporated into this connecting gear and from this connecting gear, does not remove this transmission container.
35. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 31, are also included in from this transmission container and take out and control system, remove the associated of these specific stock commodity and this transmission container after this specific stockist article unit.
36. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 31, wherein this sorting station comprises one or more customer order sorting casees, each sorting case comprises a plurality of customer order casees position, and wherein this ad-hoc location is specific in a plurality of customer order casees position of these one or more customer orders sorting casees in one of them.
37. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 31, the step that the wherein said unit by these specific stock commodity is sent to the ad-hoc location at the sorting station being associated with one of the plurality of customer order comprises:
At this sorting station, from this transmission container, read this container identifier; And
The indicating device that activation is associated with this ad-hoc location is to provide the sense of hearing or vision indication to operator, the specific stockist article unit that its indication is associated with this transmission container will be sent to this ad-hoc location.
38. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 31, also comprise:
Whether one of a plurality of customer orders that judgement is associated with this ad-hoc location complete; And
In response to one of definite the plurality of customer order, complete, the indicating device that activation is associated with this ad-hoc location is to provide the sense of hearing or vision indication to operator, and one of the plurality of customer order that its indication is associated with this position completes and is ready to processed.
39. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29 wherein saidly comprise the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit in this control system with the step that the container identifier of an empty transmission container in the plurality of transmission container is associated:
From selected unit, read commodity sign symbol; And
From selected unit, want associated transmission container to read container identifier; And
This commodity sign symbol and this container identifier are conveyed to control system.
40. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 39, wherein this container identifier is by appending to this transmission container or indicating with the integrated bar code of this transmission container, and the step that wherein reads container identifier from transmitting container comprises from this transmission container and scans electronically this bar code.
41. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 39, wherein this container identifier is by appending to this transmission container or indicating with the integrated radio frequency identification RFID label of this transmission container, and the step that wherein reads container identifier from transmitting container comprises from this transmission container and reads electronically this RFID label.
42. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, wherein this connecting gear is to transmit sorter mechanism.
43. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, also comprise and guide this connecting gear that the transmission container of the introducing that comprises single stockist article unit is sent to the specific sorting station in two or more sorting stations this material processed facility from simplification station, wherein said guide step is carried out by this control system.
44. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, also comprise one or more additional empty containers that transmit are incorporated into this connecting gear.
45. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, wherein the commodity sign of each selected unit symbol comprises the sequence number being associated with stock commodity corresponding to selected unit.
46. non-linear unit-level sortation methods as claimed in claim 29, wherein the plurality of transmission container comprises at least two transmission containers of different sizes.
47. 1 kinds of non-linear unit-level sortation systems, comprise:
Control system;
One or more sortings station;
Connecting gear;
A plurality of transmission containers, wherein each transmits the container identifier that identifies uniquely this transmission container in the material processed facility that container is included in dealer, and wherein this transmission container is not fixed to this connecting gear;
One or more simplification station, wherein each simplification station is operating as:
From commodity Resource selection individual unit, this commodity set comprises that the unit of different types of commodity of sort out from the stock stock of this material processed facility is to fulfil a plurality of customer orders, and each of wherein said a plurality of customer orders is indicated the one or more purchase of one or more clients of this dealer to this individual unit;
To this control system, send the information that the commodity sign symbol of each selected unit is associated with each empty container identifier that transmits container in the plurality of transmission container, wherein each commodity sign accords with and the stock commodity corresponding with selected unit are associated;
Each that comprises individual unit transmitted to container and be incorporated into this connecting gear, wherein have and only have a unit to be associated with each the transmission container being incorporated in this connecting gear;
Each selected unit is placed in the transmission container being associated, wherein has and only have a unit be associated and be placed on wherein with each the transmission container being incorporated in this connecting gear;
Wherein this control system is configured to guide this connecting gear that each that comprises particular commodity unit transmitted to each from this one or more simplification station of container and is sent to the specific sorting station in this one or more sortings station.
48. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 47,
Wherein each sorting station is operating as via this connecting gear and receives the transmission container that comprises particular commodity unit; And
Wherein this control system is configured at each sorting station, guide is sent to the particular commodity unit of the transmission container from receiving the ad-hoc location at the sorting station being associated with one of the plurality of customer order, at least one unit of the particular commodity that the indication of one of the plurality of customer order is associated with this transmission container.
49. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 47, wherein this control system is configured to guide this connecting gear that sky is transmitted to each from this one or more sortings station of container and is sent to the specific simplification station in this one or more simplification station.
50. non-linear unit-level sortation systems as claimed in claim 47, wherein each sorting station is operating as sky is transmitted to the return path that container is incorporated into this connecting gear, and wherein the return path of this connecting gear is configured to that this sky is transmitted to container and turns back to this one or more simplification station.
CN200880100690.0A 2007-06-26 2008-06-19 Method and apparatus for non-linear unit-level sortation in order fulfillment processes CN101808916B (en)

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